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Independence referendum underway in Iraqi Kurdistan

September 25, 2017, 9:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The results will be announced a day after the voting stations are closed

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© AP Photo/Balint Szlanko

MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. The historic vote in independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq began on Monday, the Rudaw TV channel reported.

The voting stations will be closed at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT).

Some 5.2 million eligible voters are expected to answer the question: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state? Voters should choose "yes" or "no."

The results will be announced a day after the voting stations are closed.

According to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, more than 400 international observers monitor the vote. Over 600 journalists, including one third of them from foreign media outlets, cover the event.

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq, also known as Iraqi Kurdistan, is an autonomous region, with its status enshrined in the country’s constitution. On September 15, the regional parliament, which held its first session since 2015, approved plans to hold an independence referendum on September 25. Baghdad strongly opposes the referendum, saying this decision is illegal. Earlier, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said he did not rule out a military operation in case the referendum sparked escalation of violence.

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